Cursed City (Shadow Detective #1) by William Massa

Author’s Synopsis

My name is Mike Raven, and the weird and supernatural are my life. Monsters murdered my parents when I was eight. Turns out my folks were paranormal investigators and Hell always settles its debts. Naturally I decided to join the family business. For two decades I’ve studied the occult and traveled the world hunting nightmares. Vampires. Shifters. Demons. Wraiths. I’ve faced them all. But my greatest challenge still lay ahead…

From the moment Celeste stepped into my office, I knew she was in trouble. Black magic trouble. Her father had promised her soul to a powerful demon on the day she was born. Now, twenty-one years later, the forces of darkness were gathering to collect their long-awaited prize. Guess who’s about to pick a fight with the Devil himself?

My Views

This story is all action to the point where I was feeling a little exhausted at Raven’s exertions. The plot is good and the demon action and fight scenes are just right so I followed Raven to some seriously dangerous places. The hint of a possible romance in the future had me intrigued, if he can possibly stop fighting demons for long enough to date.

This book is the beginning of a very interesting series and it reminds me a little of the series with good old Sam and Dean in but with less humour and hotness. Don’t let the lack of humour stop you because there’s a darkness in this series that’s just waiting to be explored.

Cursed city



The Break by Marian Keyes

Author’s Synopsis

Amy’s husband Hugh has run away to ‘find himself’. But will he ever come back? ‘Myself and Hugh . . . We’re taking a break.’ ‘A city-with-fancy-food sort of break?’ If only. Amy’s husband Hugh says he isn’t leaving her. He still loves her, he’s just taking a break – from their marriage, their children and, most of all, from their life together. Six months to lose himself in South East Asia. And there is nothing Amy can say or do about it. Yes, it’s a mid-life crisis, but let’s be clear: a break isn’t a break up – yet . . . However, for Amy it’s enough to send her – along with her extended family of gossips, misfits and troublemakers – teetering over the edge. For a lot can happen in six-months. When Hugh returns, if he returns, will he be the same man she married? Will Amy be the same woman? Because if Hugh is on a break from their marriage, then so is she . . .

My Views

When Amy’s husband decides that he needs a break: six months of sea, sand, and sex and not with his wife, she falls apart. Amy loves Hugh and always has but she’s also carrying around a dose of guilt from having a crush just a few months previously.

This book is about the breaking of a relationship that had been essentially good and strong. Just a couple of bad decisions and everyone involved is hurt, but the story follows these people through their ordeal and out the other side. No one is left unchanged.

The story is thought-provoking and emotional but it has more to offer. The reader can identify with both Amy and Hugh at various different points in the story making it highly emotive. It also addresses some highly sensitive issues but not in a dark way. There’s plenty of brilliant Irish wit to carry us through the difficult bits and a glamorous granny whose crazy antics show that no matter how old you are sometimes you need a ‘Break’.

The Break

Liar by K. L. Slater

Author’s Synopsis

Single dad Ben is doing his best to raise his children alone, with the help of his devoted mother Judi. Life isn’t easy, but Judi’s family means everything to her and together, they manage. Then Ben meets Amber. Everyone thinks this is a perfect match for Ben but Judi isn’t sure … there’s just something about Amber that doesn’t add up.

Ben can’t see why his mother dislikes his new girlfriend. And Amber doesn’t want Judi anywhere near her new family. Amber just wants Ben and the children. The further Judi delves into Amber’s personal life, the closer she gets to shocking secrets that could change everything. And Judi must make a decision that could lead to the most disastrous consequences.

My Views

This psychological thriller really got under my skin and I think that is because we get a small glance at the future before delving into the character’s lives. Judi is a warm, loving parent and grandparent but with the hint of danger the reader can’t help but be frightened for her. Amber is terrifying and the shroud of mystery that surrounds her doesn’t help the reader to gauge what’s going on under the surface.

Slater’s use of the innocent to extract the maximum amount of fear from her audience is admirable and effective. If you like a good thriller and you get a kick out of feeling uncomfortable, you will love this book; I did although I did have to stop reading a few times until I ready to continue.


The Chalky Sea (The Chalky Sea #1) by Clare Flynn

Author’s Synopsis

Two troubled people struggle to find their way in a turbulent world.
In July 1940, Gwen Collingwood drops her husband at the railway station, knowing she may never see him again. Two days later her humdrum world is torn apart when the sleepy English seaside town where she lives is subjected to the first of many heavy bombing attacks.

In Ontario, Canada, Jim Armstrong is debating whether to volunteer. His decision becomes clear when he uncovers the secret his fiancée has been keeping from him. A few weeks later he is on a ship bound for England.

Gwen is forced to confront the truth she has concealed about her past and her own feelings. Jim battles with a bewildering and hostile world far removed from the cosy life of his Canadian farm. War brings horror and loss to each of them – can it also bring change and salvation?


My Views

This is an emotional story about a woman who has spent years suppressing her feelings and a man who runs headlong into danger when his heart is broken, but it is more than that. Gwen’s story begins by her saying goodbye to her husband as he sets off to war but it isn’t long before the war finds Gwen in her hometown of Eastbourne which is just a few miles from me.

Jim sets off for his new life in the military but it isn’t the tonic he thinks he needs. Not only do his troubles follow him to England but him and his fellow Canadians are far from the war, leaving him plenty of time to explore his surroundings and get into trouble.

The historical element of the novel is well-researched, and it fits well into the romance and emotional ties the characters form. It is a good portrayal of life on the home front without getting bogged down with details.

The Chalky Sea

Broken Melody: A Twisted Vampire Tale by Jospeh Kiel

Author’s Synopsis

Carefree student Melody Freeman has just woken up with a hangover from hell, no memory of the night before and two bite marks on her neck. With a nagging desire to find out just what she got up to last night, she again hits the city with her best friend Rachel to retrace their steps.

What follows soon descends towards another night of forgotten debauchery until Melody learns the truth: last night she was infected… by a vampire. Worse still, a group of vampire slayers have captured her and when the sun comes up the next morning and fangs sprout from her mouth, Melody will be executed.

But that is unless she can undo the transformation by finding the very vampire that infected her and killing him. Melody and Rachel set out on the hunt into the forbidden corners of Meridian on the ultimate all-nighter. It will be a night of warped challenges and perversions, filled with sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll. A twisted race against time before she turns…
My Views

This full-action book is refreshingly British. Melody isn’t the kind of character you want to fully identify with but secretly you get her, you’ve been her, and you still hanker after her zest for life. Kiel has created a seedy underground world within a fictional, albeit typically British, city and filled it with mysterious paranormal creatures and regular human lowlifes. The story is a journey where Melody’s life remains precariously balanced but that doesn’t stop her on her quest.

This novel is darkly funny, intriguing, and strangely emotional. The cover really suits the book and I hope Kiel creates some kind of series out of this standalone story because the characters are desperate to come out to play.

Broken Melody

White Silence (Elizabeth Cage #1) by Jodi Taylor

Author’s Synopsis

Elizabeth Cage is a child when she discovers that there are things in this world that only she can see. But she doesn’t want to see them and she definitely doesn’t want them to see her.  What is a curse to Elizabeth is a gift to others – a very valuable gift they want to control.

When her husband dies, Elizabeth’s world descends into a nightmare. But as she tries to piece her life back together, she discovers that not everything is as it seems. Alone in a strange and frightening world, she’s a vulnerable target to forces beyond her control. And she knows that she can’t trust anyone…


My Views

This book is full of tension. I really liked Elizabeth, and I worried about her because she had an air of frailty that had consolidated itself with her life choices. The more I learned about her the more worried I became and with the scary clinic with its foreboding ruler at her heels I had a nail-biting time.

Taylor has created Elizabeth with an intense internal light but then she throws her poor character into terrible dark situations in which the reader also gets completely immersed and it strengthens the suspense of the story and the reader’s fear. I can’t wait for the next book in the series.

White Silence

Jane Austen ay Home by Lucy Worsley

Author’s Synopsis

On the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death, historian Lucy Worsley leads us into the world in which our best-loved novelist lived.

This new telling of the story of Jane’s life shows us how and why she lived as she did, examining the rooms, spaces and possessions which mattered to her, and the way in which home is used in her novels to mean both a place of pleasure and a prison. It wasn’t all country houses and ballrooms, in fact her life was often a painful struggle.

Jane famously lived a ‘life without incident’, but with new research and insights Lucy Worsley reveals a passionate woman who fought for her freedom. A woman who far from being a lonely spinster in fact had at least five marriage prospects, but who in the end refused to settle for anything less than Mr Darcy.

My Views

This is more than the biography I was expecting, it is a complete illustration of everyone’s life in Jane’s era. Worsley’s attention to detail has included everything that you could possibly want to know about life during that period: domestic, political, work life, leisure. It is more than a little eye-opening.

I loved this book and I think that every woman should read it, as should every Jane Austen fan, every history lover, every author, and anyone that falls in between. This, in my view, is a must read and an educational tool but most of all it is a celebration of a woman who paved the way for every female author since.

jane austen at home.jpg